Renewable energy now accounts for a third of global capacity, thanks to gains in solar and wind energy in 2018, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In 2018, 171 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity worldwide bringing total capacity to 2 351 GW in total, as noted in the IRENA Renewable Capacity Statistics 2019 report.
This is positive news, as the world works toward reducing fossil fuel energy, however, there are many aspects to consider when developing large scale renewable energy production sites.
Third party certification of wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and marine energy equipment and services to consensus-based international standards, supports manufacturers in the RE industry, by reducing risks, streamlining costs, as well as enhancing market access.
IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, was established in 2014 to address these issues.
Certification plays a key role in RE industry
IECRE has recently issued a design certificate and a commissioning certificate for a PV power plant in China owned by the Shanghai ZPMC Electric Co., Ltd.
“Large-scale renewable energy production is very complex and costly, so it is vital to ensure safety, reliability and suitability of location of the particular plant for all parties concerned, from the initial design phase through to the final disposal phase. IECRE issues certificates at different points of the development, which cover these aspects for the production of solar PV, wind and marine energy”, said Wolfram Zeitz, Secretary, IECRE.
There are four main phases in the lifecycle of PV plant: development, construction, exploitation and disposal.
The design certificate is issued for the development phase and is intended to cover the due diligence, usually of the developer, for the planning and design of a PV power plant, in other words, before the plant is built. It covers:
- Verifying all available documents and information and how the power plant is supposed to be set up, from site suitability to components or materials used.
- Are components such as PV modules and invertors to be certified
- What type of construction materials are going to be used, for example, wires, cables, connectors, distribution boxes etc.
- Which company will be hired to install the plant, what qualifications they possess for this type of construction, as well as how to verify such qualifications.
The commissioning certificate is issued at the end of the construction phase, at the point that a plant is supposed to go into production, so that it may start working. This certificate is proof of verification that the construction of the plant has followed the design.
Once a plant begins production it will be subject to further checks, such as quality controls and annual performance certification to verify that the performance rate is not dropping.
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